Bugle result?

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by sam1, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. sam1

    sam1 New Member

    Having spent a fabulous day listening at the West of England Bandsman Festival in Bugle I had it overshadowed when it came to the results. I had predicted all of the sections pretty well but to hear that my dead cert in the 4th section were second I was to say the least 'gob smacked', and not the only one commenting. The Band I had heard and given 2nd had played to a different standard than that of the band that were given the 1st prize, this got me thinking and as the weekend went on I was getting more and more headaches over this. One Question came to me, is it fair to have the composer of the set test piece actually conducting a band in the section or even why choose a piece that everyone knows that he will be involved in. Please give me some thoughts on all of this, im starting to get very cynical!!
  2. ghost

    ghost Member

    In a word - NO! How can it be? It doesn't make any difference how upstanding and trustworthy that person is - and I hasten to add that the person in question is a pillar of the banding movement and I am sure no one is suggesting otherwise. But it is still the case that the band being conducted by that composer has the distinct advantage in that all the 'colours' and feel and passion in the piece will be known to that conductor as he wrote the piece! Changes in tempo, balance etc will all be in his head as he will have thought each chord through. I hadn't made that connection - but you are absolutely right in my opinion. Perhaps the rules should be changed to stop this arising again!

    Let us imagine that the piece for the Nationals was composed by say (hypothetically) Philip Harper - how would the other bands competing feel if he took a band to the finals? Interesting.
  3. sam1

    sam1 New Member

    Im sure it would never happen in the top sections, i dont see that the rules need changing it only comes down to common sense when choosing a set piece. We need to take a look at MD's in those sections, we know who is conducting where most of the time and there are not many that have written test pieces so stay clear of their music if they are likely to be involved or is that too easy?????
  4. ghost

    ghost Member

    Camborne were generally excellent on Saturday. Sop/Euph/Horn and Basses were awsome. Darren Hawken was a real revelation with St Dennis. :clap:

    Now back to the topic:

    I can't think of any incidence where a conductor of a band at a contest composed the piece. Maybe this will prompt an avalanche of examples???

    If anyone knows of any such examples could you quote them - and which contest and which section. Surely if it is wrong in the Championship, it is wrong at all levels.
  5. HornMaster

    HornMaster Member

    I believe Eric Ball conducted one of his own pieces at a contest and his interpretation was criticised by the adjudicators! I don't know the 'when' and 'where' of this but I'm sure someone will be able to expand on the story.
  6. SMead

    SMead Member

    adjudicator replies

    As the adjudicator at the 2009 West of England Bandsman Festival I think I might be allowed to respond to your 'interesting' post. The Band that won the 4th section were in my opinion the best, they were the best band and played the testpiece not only as written in the score but with a musicality the other two bands didn't have. You are entitled to your opinion on course but I was in a tent 4 metres from the edge of the stage and I have to tell you, it was a no-brainer ! As to whether the 79 year old conductor had any advantage over the other bands as he was the composer is debatable. I think the work was composed over 30 years ago !! All the conductors had the chance to use the same published score, but as it turned out , only one band really played it. Sorry if this causes you more and more headaches. Steven Mead
  7. With the level of entries at Bugle this year I dont think we can complain as to what bands attended and who conducted them, just be thankful they were there! Thankyou to ghost for your kind comments and to Mr Mead for your kind result!
  8. ghost

    ghost Member

    My comments were very genuine Mr Snazzy. Your band was once again excellent. Les was awsome and nailed every entry. Letch and Josey were superb.

    Personally I think the question which Sam1 asks is a perfectly reasonable one. Is it right that this situation should occur? I don't see anything wrong with an open discussion. And I don't think he/she was suggesting anything other than the fact that a composer may have a special insight in to the way the piece has been put together. If (and I say 'if') that is the case then that band could have an advantage.

    I also think that the man in question is fantastic for his 79 years! I think age = experience - but I have to say that as I am getting no younger!!!
  9. Just because the composer has written the piece doesn't neccasarily mean that he would be able to coach a Band any better because he knows the piece, you still need to get tuning, playing together, balance etc correct before taking into account interpretation. And interpretation is most likely marked on what style the adjudicator likes best which may well be differant to what the composer is thinking.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2009
  10. sam1

    sam1 New Member

    Thankyou Mr Mead for joining into the thread and the comments you have given. I agree that not all opinions will be the same and of course The adjudicators result will always be final.

    At no point have I complained about which band entered I was only comenting on a issue that might get other peoples views on here. I too wish there had been many more bands for me to listen to, Bugle contest is a highlight of the banding year for all of us playing or not and I am hoping it will be supported by more of the westcountry bands next year. After that....well done to you 'snazzy cornet sound' you did deserve your results and was a pleasure to listen to.
    On another positive for this years contest, at least nobody had clay on their feet or lost any car keys :)
  11. HornMaster

    HornMaster Member

    You would also have to assume that the adjudicator has to have the same insight in order for it to be an advantage though. As we all know, musical tastes can differ greatly from one person to the next.
  12. I travelled all the way from york to listen at Bugle , and mr Mead not only picked the winners but all the places , and one of the best summing up of highlights. To the the fourth section bands look to the tempo on the scores , some were dramatically slow this will effect style, particullary standing out in a small section. i went for a meal on sat night and in walked the said conductor. it was a pleasure to have his company for a couple of hours as he joined our table. listen and learn!
  13. ghost

    ghost Member

    I have a CD of Eric Ball conducting the Virtuosi band of Great Britain (the final one in the set I think) playing Journey in to Freedom. Whilst I had loved that piece since I first played it in the early 70's, and had heard numerous recordings of it, there is something magical about the interpretation of that recording which sets it apart from others. Whilst it is clear that the band had not played together very much, the composer/conductor just made it sound like they had really 'played it'! This is what this thread is trying to establish.
  14. tubbytuba

    tubbytuba Member

    Having played at Bugle for a few years now it was again a very enjoyable day.As Snazzy states more bands and support makes for a better day.I played this year with Camborne Youth(adult bass) and thought Steve Meads adjudication was spot on not only with results but comments.Its not an easy contest to adjudicate and this year we did have the great train solo as well
  15. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Being a bit controversial perhaps but the Bugle Contest is dying out. Entries seem to get less and less and it becomes a vicious circle as it becomes less attractive to a band that doesn`t normally go there.
  16. ghost

    ghost Member

    Mr Mead, may I with respect ask you a straight forward question. There is a reply above which suggests that the band in second place in the fourth section played unreasonably slow and that this was a major factor in your decision. Is this correct? Did the runners up play unreasonably slowly? If so, then this thread has nothing to do with other aspects of interpretation. It is merely to do with the tempo and the fact that in your opinion it was too slow. If so, that's me satisfied.
  17. I had dinner with the winning conductor ,not the aujudicator, but look at the opening tempo .
  18. SMead

    SMead Member

    There is no straight forward answer to your question. As I said previously the winning performance in the 4th section seemed to do the best of the three in what was clearly a stern test for all the bands (West Sou'West - D.Stephens). All three had issues with the rhythmic precision needed, tuning was a big factor too. Solo lines had to be delivered with style and confidence, the transitions between sections had to be managed effectively, and the band had to remain strong to the end. Whilst I had a metronome with me during the day it was not the tempi factor that in any way determined the result of the 4th section.
    It was a quite superb day in Bugle. Congratulations to the organisers and all the participating bands. The good natured atmosphere and fine playing, culiminating in the proud final march by all bands and Camborne Town's short but truly excellent concert in the middle of the square before an attentive and appreciative audience showed off banding at its best. Hopefully a few more bands will go next year, but I'm convinced this contest will be around for MANY years to come. If the performance in the Youth section was anything to go by, it could get even better.
  19. QAD

    QAD Member

    Eric Ball was unusual in that he was both a successful Brass Band composer and conductor. This is rarely the case.
    Also I firmly believe that the score is a great leveler. The composer's ability to put down exactly what he means is quite limited through the semantics of the score. Tempos, feel, musical flow and phrasing aren't always notated adequately. Add to this the additional interpretation of the conductors/adjudicator to turn it back into actual music and you'll often find what comes out of the other end of this process is not what started it off.
    There's a very good reason why you'll find so few examples of a composer conducting his own works in a contest, and I think it takes a very brave composer who is willing to put themselves up to the ridicule of the brass band contest. It's all too easy to conduct you're own piece only to end up with egg on your face if you don't come first.
  20. ghost

    ghost Member

    Thank you for your reply. I agree that it is a somewhat unique contest and such a great day when the weather is good. Last year it rained and probably temporarily put some bands off. But I do not believe for one moment that the contest is in danger. With such prize money at stake, I am surprised that more bands do not compete. I have a feeling that every band won a monetary award on Saturday - in these times that is a real plus. I hope you enjoyed your trip to the Westcountry. Keep making the solo albums - they are excellent!

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